CHP launches new safety campaign

null As the weather gets nicer, we're likely to see more motorcycles and scooters on the road. But as motorcyclists become more numerous, so do crashes, sometimes involving fatalities.

"In 2008, sadly, I have to report that in California, we lost nearly 575 riders in motorcycle collisions," said Commissioner Joe Farrow, CHP.

That number is way up so the CHP has teamed up with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to designate May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

They say many motorcycle collisions can be prevented through simple steps like proper training.

"Because people who are either self-taught or taught by friends and family are over represented in crash statistics year after year," said Robert Gladden, Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

In addition to proper training and licensing, motorcyclist should also follow other recommended guidelines, like wearing protective gear at all times, not riding under the influence of alcohol, and staying alert on the road -- especially in traffic.

Students in safety classes are required to be covered head to toe.

Warm weather might make a ride to the beach inviting, but taking a spill in things like shorts and flip-flops could mean a painful trip to the ER.

And since everyone needs to share the road safety experts have tips for drivers as well.

"If you're startled by a motorcycle coming up upon you, chances are it's been approaching for several seconds. So use those mirrors and pay attention to motorcycles, look for them," said Gladden.

Another mistake some new riders or those returning to motorcycles make is that they get on too big a bike. Experts say it's best to start off with something small, then when you have some time and miles under your belt, you can move up to something bigger.

Nice weather in Southern California and motorcyclists on the road are almost a foregone conclusion, but crashes don't have to be.

"They can be prevented. With proper equipment, proper training, and proper rules of the road, following those rules, I think we'll be okay," said Commissioner Farrow.


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